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NE Lexicon for State Wildlife Action Plans - Literature Review

In preparation to revise the Northeast Lexicon for State Wildlife Action Plans, we reviewed a number of reports and publications published over the last 8 years. These reports would be of general interest to SWAP Coordinators nationwide and are summarized here for easy access.



AFWA SWAP and Landscape Conservation Report

Released on September 17, 2021, this report makes specific recommendations for regional coordination addressing 5 Guiding Principles. The overarching vision that will be achieved by implementing the recommended actions is for "Agencies and diverse partners to align around a shared purpose and approach to proactively conserve native species and the habitats and landscapes on which they depend."

The Northeast has already taken many of the recommended actions. Some opportunities for improvement highlighted in this report include:

  • developing ways to be consistent in SWAP implementation tracking and measuring success (pg 13)

  • adopting more consistent conservation actions to address regional-scale threats like climate change, invasive species, landscape connectivity, and aquatic connectivity and pollution (pg.14)

  • sharing best practices or standards for identifying and mapping conservation opportunity areas (pg 15)


Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful

The Biden Administration set a goal of conserving at least 30 percent of lands and waters by 2030. Meeting this goal will involve many stakeholders working at local, state, and regional scales - just the kind of effort State Wildlife Action Plans intend to coordinate. The preliminary inter-agency report sets eight principles to guide how new conservation lands can be identified.

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Keeley et al.: Connectivity

The authors found 293 Connectivity Conservation Plans worldwide since 1990 and received responses from 109 authors of these plans and conducted phone interviews with 77 authors providing impact information on which to base their assessment. The analysis shows how plan traits were associated with five implementation types:

  1. Wildlife crossing structures across highways

  2. Ecological restoration of degraded areas

  3. Land purchases or easements

  4. Recognition of corridors through zoning or government designation

  5. Public engagement in connectivity planning and advocacy


The paper offers seven recommendations to improve connectivity plans.


Morgan et al.: Private Lands Opportunities

After providing a detailed history of the evolution of conservation on private lands, the paper addresses 3 objectives:

  1. collect national data on state wildlife agency investments in private-lands wildlife-habitat management

  2. develop a standardized measure for comparison among states and regions

  3. establish a starting point for a national discussion toward increasing private lands investments for state wildlife agencies.


To address these objectives, indices were used to compare states. All states disproportionately funded staff to work on public lands (index values were all negative, representing a deficit of effort on private lands) and private lands biologists were responsible for 1092-72,046 square miles per staff member.

I reproduced the data table in excel and was able to drill down a bit on the implications for the Northeast. The Northeast has a slightly smaller proportion of private lands than SEAFWA or MAFWA, but less agency resources directly applied to engaging private land owners. This report seems to indicate this is an opportunity for improvement for the Northeast.

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